syn·es·the·sia [sin-uh s-thee-zhuh] noun. 1. the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.
Melissa McCracken paints music, which I find fascinating. I didn’t even know that was a thing!. She describes herself as a synesthete, one who can see a visual representation of audio stimulus, and her art is nothing short of gorgeous. As a child, McCracken believed that everyone in her world could see sound the way she could. It wasn’t until her early teen years that she realized she was somewhat unique.
“Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the ‘wrong’ sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful ‘brain malfunction’ of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.”
Her beautiful, expressive paintings make me envious of her brain’s unique way of processing sound. I am very glad that such diversity of perception exists in the world, and I’m grateful that artists like McCracken have found ways of sharing their differences with us.
All images property of Melissa McCracken.